New Study Finds The Mediterranean Diet May Help To Improve Melanoma Survival

The plant-based Mediterranean diet can stabilize blood sugar, improve your heart, and protect against cognitive decline (via Healthline). According to a new study presented at United European Gastroenterology's annual conference, the Mediterranean diet can also improve the immune response and 12-month survival of patients with advanced melanoma. The researchers tracked the diets of 91 melanoma patients through a questionnaire, finding that the immune system's response was higher for people who ate more fish, nuts, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. Eating whole grains and legumes also reduced the toxicity of the drugs used to treat melanoma. The researchers also found that drug toxicity increased if the melanoma patients ate more red or processed meats.

In a news release about the study, author Laura Bolte from University Medical Center Groningen, Netherlands said that diet and the gut microbiome provide more opportunities to enhance the immune system. "Our study underlines the importance of dietary assessment in cancer patients starting ICI treatment and supports a role for dietary strategies to improve patient outcomes and survival," Bolte said. Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICI) are drugs that elicit the immune system to attack cancer.

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet

According to the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean diet focuses on whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Because the main source of fat comes from olive oil, this monounsaturated fat helps lower cholesterol. People who adhere to the Mediterranean diet will have moderate amounts of fish, dairy, and poultry but limit sugary foods and red meat.

In a 2020 systematic review in the European Journal of Nutrition, 117 research studies involving more than 3 million participants found that adhering to the Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of dying from cancer. The Mediterranean diet can also reduce your risk of colorectal, breast, head and neck, respiratory, gastric, bladder, and liver cancers.

According to Harvard Medical School, the Mediterranean diet's emphasis on healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish can cut the risk of type 2 diabetes. The antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains protect the body from chronic disease. Limiting red and processed meats and focusing on fish and plant-based foods also help in healthy aging.